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Bundesliga, Matchday 19: Top teams win, Sindelfingen and Gütersloh move up

By Olaf Goldbecker - The top teams of the league showed no weaknesses this weekend. At the bottom, Leipzig left the last spot again and raised hopes for them and Leverkusen, while Jena has to tremble again. In 2. Bundesliga, the promoted teams for the league are already determined. From the northern league, FSV Gütersloh will move up for the first time, while from the south, VfL Sindelfingen returns after getting relegated in 2006.

1.FFC Frankfurt v SC Freiburg 7:0 (5:0)

Nightmare morning for SC Freiburg, which allowed five goals from Frankfurt in the first half. Ana Maria Crnogorcevic completed a hat trick in the first 25 minutes. Kerstin Garefrekes (2), Melanie Behringer, and Meike Weber added.

Bayer Leverkusen v VfL Wolfsburg 1:2 (0:1)

Wolfsburg was the better team and had better opportunities, but Leverkusen was not without chance in this match. Conny Pohlers marked the lead with her 18th strike of the season short before halftime and now leads the top striker ranking alone in front of Potsdam’s Genoveva Anomna. Hungarian Zsanett Jakabfi added 10 minutes after the break, yet this time Wolfsburg did not bring their counterattacks home and that way they had to survive five nervous minutes after Isabelle Linden got Leverkusen closer.

Turbine Potsdam v Bayern Munich 3:0 (1:0)

The top team with the most difficult task on the paper solved the challenge. Austria’s NT player Corinna Wenninger scored the lead for Potsdam halfway through the first half with an own goal. Antonia Göransson and Isabel Kerschowski sealed the win in the last quarter hour.

FCR Duisburg v SC Bad Neuenahr 2:0 (1:0)

Linda Bresonik in the first and Alexandra Popp in the second half marked the goals for Duisburg and cared for their team staying in the top race.

Lokomotive Leipzig v FF USV Jena 2:1 (1:0)

Big win for Leipzig, which captured their first points in 2012 and is back in the race to stay in the league. New Zealand’s Anna Green marked the lead for Leipzig after half an hour. The narrow lead seemed to have been in vain when Green’s fellow Amber Hearn tied the match with four minutes left on the clock. Yet just one minute later, Anne Heller made Leipzig celebrate again.

Hamburger SV v SG Essen-Schönbeck 1:1 (1:1)

The only game without effect for top nor bottom ended in a peaceful draw. The goals were scored in the first 25 minutes. Charline Hartmann marked the lead for Essen before Jessica Wich tied.

Situation: VfL Wolfsburg sits on top with 46 points ahead of Duisburg with 45. Potsdam follows with 44 but plays Bad Neuenahr during the week in a makeup game and could jump to the top in this one. Frankfurt is fourth with 43 points. Essen now is fifth with 24 ahead of Freiburg with 23. Munich leads the second half of the standings with 21, Bad Neuenahr and Hamburg have 19. Jena still is safe with 15 points and the better goal difference to Leipzig with 12 on the first relegation spot. Leverkusen dropped back to last with 11.

The top game of the upcoming weekend will be the classic rivalry match between Turbine Potsdam and 1.FFC Frankfurt.

Damallsvenskan Round 3: Örebro wins first of season, Piteå and Jitex also victorious, Umeå and Linköping play to draw

By Rainer Fussgänger – After three rounds, tendencies are visible in Damallsvenskan. After their second consecutive loss, Kristianstad is far away from their goal of winning the championship, and since Piteå has not had 1,000 in one of their two home games played yet, it seems that raising the ticket price to 18 U.S. dollars was not a good idea.

AIK vs KIF Örebro 0-2
Attendance: 175
KIF Örebro: Sanna Talonen 30’, Edda Gardarsdottir 86’
Red card: Sarah Fredriksson (AIK) 17’

KIF Örebro came back after two losses and scored their first goals of the season. Newcomers AIK faced their third defeat, the second one at home. Already after 17 minutes, the home team was weakened when their defender Sarah Fredriksson was sent off by referee Sandra Fogelberg after she had taken down Sarah Michael in a one-on-one situation. That incident was decisive, and when Finnish striker Talonen had scored her first goal of the season, Örebro was slowly coming back to life again after finding themselves in the very bottom of the league after round two. Only 175 people attended the match – how much will be left if AIK keeps on losing?

Piteå IF vs Djurgården 3-1
Attendance: 913
Piteå: Hallbera Gisladottir 19’, Jennifer Nobis (Victoria Forsmark) 25’, Jennifer Nobis (Hanna Pettersson) 28’
Djurgården: Mia Jalkerud 10’

During last year’s season, 28-year-old American Jennifer Nobis scored two goals. This year promises to be different for Nobis, who has been around in Sweden quite a while now. With her two goals against Djurgården from Stockholm, Nobis joins the leading scorers Anja Mittag and Christen Press, who have three goals to their name. However, Djurgården took the lead, and it was Mia Jalkerud who gave hope to the away team after 10 minutes. Still many injured and with a lack of self-confidence, Djurgården was thrown back within a couple of minutes in the first half when Piteå first equalized through Icelandic defender Hallbera Gisladottir. Then, it was Nobis’ show. Piteå is now up with six points, Djurgården still has nothing.

Kristianstads DFF vs Jitex BK 1-3
Attendance: 323
Kristianstad: Susanne Moberg (Kosovare Asllani) 34’
Jitex: Annica Sjölund (Sofia Skog) 19’, Sofia Skog 71’, Annica Sjölund (Fridolina Rolfö) 76’

If we take Elisabet Gunnarsdottir’s words from the press meeting seriously, then Jitex’s away win in Kristianstad was a big surprise. The Icelandic coach had told media that she was aiming for the gold with KDFF this year. After three rounds and only one point out of nine possible, the championship seems pretty far away for Kristianstad. Again, it was an open game between the two sides and Jitex once again gave prove for their physically strong condition. The goal that probably decided the game, Sofia Skog’s shot, was a big mistake by Swedish WNT keeper Hedvig Lindahl, who let the ball get through her hands and into the net. That immediately gave upswing to Jitex, and with Finnish strikers Anica Sjölund’s third goal of the season, Jitex won their second away game within a week.

Umeå IK vs Linköpings FC 1-1
Attendance: 611
Umeå: Ogonna Chukwudi (Emmelie Konradsson) 64′
Linköping: Charlotte Rohlin (Petra Larsson) 75′

A 1-1 draw between Umeå and Linköping really was no surprise in Monday’s only game. The first of three tough matches for Umeå was well played by the home side, which gave an answer to those who already had seen them between 6th and 9th position this year after losing Sofia Jakobsson, Ramona Bachmann, and Hanna Pettersson. In front of a small crowd of only 611, Umeå was close to winning this. Coach Joakim Blomqvist has done a good job so far and built a confident defense with captain Emma Berglund and behind her veteran goalkeeper Caroline Jönsson, who won the silver medal in the WC in 2003. After three matches, both teams have not lost a match yet. A little worry that Linköping who had immense problems scoring last season has only scored three goals in three matches although they have Manon Melis and Lisa DeVanna.

Tyresö FF vs LdB FC Malmö 2-0
Attendance: 2,339
Tyresö FF: Marta (Caroline Seger) 48′, Elaine 77′

The better team won. Malmö could not threaten Tyresö in the box and what many people before the season thought might be Tyresö’s weak point – the defense – made a tremendous game. Anja Mittag and Therese Sjögran never really got through when they tried to overcome centre backs Linda Sembrant and Johanna Frisk. The best opportunity Malmö had was a shot by otherwise disappointing Ramona Bachmann that went over Carola Söberg’s goal. Tyresö created much more, but the two goals were results of individual mistakes. Lina Nilsson could not get away the ball that came to Caroline Seger who served Marta. The other Brazilian, Elaine, who played a couple of months for Saint Louis Athletica before the WPS club folded in 2010, was not only the best player on the pitch, she even decided the game with a hard shot from about 60 feet from goal. Tyresö players were happy and relieved to come back after last week’s loss in Linköping.

Kopparberg/Göteborgs FC vs Vittsjö GIK 1-2
Attendance:382
Göteborg: Amanda Edgren (Stina Segerström) 84′
Vittsjö: Danesha Adams (Kirsty Yallop) 15′, Sofie Andersson (Emma Sjödahl) 45′

We are talking about the biggest surprise yet this season. Newbies Vittsjö got on the bus home to Southern Sweden with three points, and they defeated cup winners Göteborg. KGFC’s coach Torbjörn Nilsson was in hospital after being bitten by a dog, and Christen Press was with the USWNT in Florida, but that does not explain how this could happen. Vittsjö did not defend well and scored two lucky goals on a few chances – they simply dominated the game and had much more shots than the home side. Danesha Adams gave Vittsjö a well-deserved lead, and last year’s goal queen Sofia Andersson (34 goals in 22 games in Division 2) scored one per match up til now. Göteborg failed to take a clear lead in Damallsvenskan, and after three rounds it is Umeå one point ahead of Tyresö and a whole bunch of other teams, among them Vittsjö and Göteborg.

Rainer Fussgänger, of Germany, lives in Sweden and has followed the Damallsvenskan for eight years now. Living in Stockholm with three clubs (Djurgården, Hammarby, and Tyresö) around the corner, he is lucky to see a lot of games. You can follow Rainer on Twitter @ffschweden and check out his website at http://ffschweden.wordpress.com.

Bundesliga, Matchday 18: Wolfsburg, temporarily, on top

By Olaf Goldbecker – Only four of the six matches were played due to the Champions League semifinals. Frankfurt will play their makeup game at Bayern Munich on Wednesday, while Potsdam travels to Bad Neuenahr next week on May 2.

During the week, Hamburger SV was the main discussion point in the league. Already last year the women’s team had to cut their budget massively as the men’s pro team ran into a massive deficit. For the next season they announced another 15 percent cut for the upcoming season, an amount of which Christian Lenz, the women’s CEO said, it needs to be questioned if it’s possible to entertain a Bundesliga team with. Should they really withdraw, only the last-placed team of the league would relegate.

SC Freiburg v Bayer Leverkusen 0:1 (0:1)

An early goal by Eunice Beckmann decided the battle, which makes Leverkusen leave the last place.

FF USV Jena v FCR Duisburg 0:3 (0:2)

After half an hour the game was decided when Simone Laudehr had struck twice. Jennifer Oster marked the final goal short before the end of the match.

SG Essen- Schönebeck  v Lokomotive Leipzig 4:0 (1:0)

The game was not as evident as the score tells. Quite in contrast, Leipzig was having more chances in the first half but was caught cold when Melanie Hoffmann scored the lead right before halftime. When Anna Green scored into the own net the game was decided. The final goals were scored by substitute players Isabel Wolf and Sarah Freutel

VfL Wolfsburg v Hamburger SV 5:2 (3:0)

Wolfsburg moved to the top with a convincing win over Hamburg. Until minute 53, they scored all their goals before letting Hamburg get closer. Nadine Keßler, Zsanett Jakabfi and Martina Müller scored before halftime, the latter two added short after the break again. Caroline Simon and Maike Timmermann cared for Hamburg’s goals

Situation: Wolfsburg moved into first place with 43 points, followed by Duisburg with 42. This puts the two traditional powerhouses under pressure. Potsdam and Frankfurt have one game more to play; Potsdam has 41 points, Frankfurt 37. Freiburg and Essen are on 5 and 6 with 23 points. Munich and Bad Neuenahr follow with 21 and 19 and can still gain extra points in their makeup games. Hamburg with 18 and Jena with 15 stay over the dotted line. Leverkusen now left the last spot, has 11 points. Leipzig is last with 9.

Key games for next week: of course Bayern Munich v Frankfurt during the week, a preview for the cup final. Leverkusen hosts Wolfsburg in a game with a big meaning for bottom and top, and Potsdam faces Munich. And a key battle for the relegation fight takes place between Leipzig and Jena.

Damallsvenskan Round 2: Malmö’s five goals sink Kristianstads, Linköping rattles Marta, Tyresö, and Vittsjö makes history

By Rainer Fussgänger – Round 2 of the Swedish league Damallsvenskan started on Saturday and was finished on Wednesday. Three of the six matches had more than 1,000 spectators. Marta was not happy about the match in Linköping, and many celebrated Anja Mittag as player of the week.

KIF Örebro vs Umeå IK 0-2
Attendance: 490
Umeå IK: Jenny Hjohlman (Emmelie Konradsson) 60’, Jenny Hjohlman (Lina Hurtig) 72’
Experts wondered who would score the goals for Umeå after Ramona Bachmann, Sofia Jakobsson, and Hanna Pettersson left the club. On Saturday, the answer was simply Jenny Hjohlman.The 22-year-old, who came from Sundsvall, had already scored a couple of preseason goals. At Behrns Arena in Örebro, she was the difference between the two teams. The first half belonged to hosts KIF Örebro. Sanna Talonen had the biggest chance when hitting the cross bar. The final 45 minutes though saw Umeå getting more confident and finally winning, putting them up in first place for 24 hours.

LdB FC Malmö vs Kristianstads DFF 5-2
Attendance: 1,002
LdB FC Malmö: Anja Mittag (Ali Riley) 19’, Amanda Ilestedt (Therese Sjögran) 45’, Therese Sjögran (PK) 64’, Anja Mittag 80’, Elin Rubensson (Anja Mittag) 82’
Kristianstads DFF: Susanne Moberg 16’, Katrin Omarsdottir 56’
“Anja Mittag is one of the most intelligent forwards in today’s women soccer.” The quote does not come from Malmö’s coach Peter Moberg, but from Kristianstad’s Elisabet Gunnarsdottir. Even the local press was full of praise for the 26-year-old German whose performance was world class. It seems that the move from Potsdam to Malmö has really given her a new start. Kristianstad again was very difficult to play for one of the favourites in Damallsvenskan. Last week, Linköping survived by a late equalizer of Manon Melis, even this time KDFF took the lead, but Malmö played a supreme second half and finally took over the pole position in the league from Umeå.

Jitex's Leena Puranen maneuvers past Djurgården's Matilda Rosqvist. (Photo By Rainer Fussgänger)

Djurgården vs Jitex 0-2
Attendance: 653
Jitex: Fridolina Rolfö 25’, Sofia Karlsson (Fridolina Rolfö) 55’
The match should have been played on grass at Stockholms Stadion, but due to a lot of snow during the night, Djurgården had to play on the turf of Östermalms IP. Jitex was very present from the start and pretty physical. For Djurgården, it was one of those days where nothing really worked. The team did not create scoring opportunities, which raises a lot of questions and worries.

Jitex striker Fridolina Rolfö. (Photo By Rainer Fussgänger)

Jitex striker Fridolina Rolfö, only 18 years of age, seems to continue where she left off in 2011 – being one of the hottest talents in Swedish soccer. If she can go on like this, we will see her in the SWNT soon; maybe she can impress coach Thomas Dennerby already this spring.

Jitex striker Fridolina Rolfö takes a shot against Djurgården. (Photo By Rainer Fussgänger)

Vittsjö GIK vs AIK 3-1
Attendance: 1,271
Vittsjö: Danesha Adams (Sandra Adolfsson) 34’, Kendall Fletcher (Kirsty Yallop) 39’, Sofie Andersson (Emma Sjödahl) 47’
AIK: Susan Varli (Therese Boström) 67’
Red card: Susan Varli 70’
Is there a better way for a team that is in Damallsvenskan for the very first time to play their first home game and scoring three goals and taking three points? Vittsjö took a historical victory, but they can also be lucky that the planning commission gave them AIK as the first opponent at home. There was no doubt who would win this game, and it was a perfect start for Americans Danesha Adams and Kendall Fletcher who scored the first two goals after corners. In the end, everyone was happy except for AIK, who must answer the question if they come well-prepared to the Damallsvenskan.

Linköpings FC vs Tyresö FF 1-0
Attendance: 2,831
Linköpings FC: Emma Lundh 55’
The top game between the teams that most people see as No. 1 and No. 2 after the end of the season saw a very determined Linköping team. They gave almost no space for the creators in the Tyresö midfield, and Marta seemed frustrated that she was so closely guarded, she started complaining and lost her way. Linköping midfielders Marianne Gajhede, Nilla Fischer, and Louise Fors ran and fought like this was a cup final, and most people finally stated that Linköping deserved to win this. Madelaine Edlund had several opportunities for Tyresö, but Linköping wanted more, was hungry, and never lost their focus.

Piteå IF vs Kopparberg/Göteborgs FC 1-3
Attendance: 949
Piteå IF: Jennifer Nobis (Lena Blomqvist) 20’
Göteborg: Lisa Ek (Marlene Sjöberg) 6’, Christen Press (Catrine Johansson) 31’, Anita Asante (Sara Lindén) 45+2’
Winter came back to Piteå the night before the match, but many volunteers made it possible to play the game. Christen Press continues her success story, scoring her third goal of the season. She leads the scorer list together with Malmö’s Anja Mittag. And finally, Pia Sundhage has called for Christen to join the training camp of the USWNT in Florida. She went right away from Piteå to the U.S. and was allowed a one-week absence from her club, missing the game against Vittsjö. Göteborg won comfortably, that is no surprise, but that Piteå actually had a lot of shots on goal was not expected. A bad day though for Australian goalkeeper Lydia Williams who hurt her knee and had to be carried away. We will know more Friday or on Saturday when she can come back between the posts in Piteå.

Rainer Fussgänger, of Germany, lives in Sweden and has followed the Damallsvenskan for eight years now. Living in Stockholm with three clubs (Djurgården, Hammarby, and Tyresö) around the corner, he is lucky to see a lot of games. You can follow Rainer on Twitter @ffschweden and check out his website at http://ffschweden.wordpress.com.

Bundesliga: Duisburg and Wolfsburg win easily, while two other matches end in draws

By Olaf Goldbecker – In a split matchday due to the Champions League semifinals of Potsdam and Frankfurt, the top four teams left little doubt about them staying contenders. Potsdam had won their game against Jena last weekend, and Frankfurt defeated Leverkusen during the week already. The action of this weekend:

FCR 2001 Duisburg v SG Essen-Schönebeck 4:0 (2:0)

Derby time in Duisburg and the favorites left little doubt who would keep the three points. Mandy Islacker after five and Gülhiye Cengiz after 30 minutes gave a secure halftime lead for Duisburg. Simone Laudehr added a pair in the final 20 minutes.

Hamburger SV v SC Freiburg 1:1 (1:1)

Marina Makanza scored the lead for Freiburg, which was tied by Maja Schubert right before the break. Hamburg had a big chance to seal staying in the league but Aferdita Kameraj failed with a penalty kick in the second half.

Lokomotive Leipzig v VfL Wolfsburg 2:9 (1:5)

When Karoline Aulrich scored the lead for Leipzig in the first minute they could not expect this game to end in a disaster. Yet after a quarter hour, the picture had changed completely and Wolfsburg was already up 4-1 (Conny Pohlers 2, Lena Goessling, Zsanett Jakabfi). An own goal short before the half time whistle cared for the halftime score. Between minutes 57 and 74, all other goals happened. Pohlers added another two, Jakabfi, and Martina Müller scored for Wolfsburg, Marie-Luise Herrmann for Leipzig.

Bayern München v SC Bad Neuenahr 0:0

Less work to do for the stadium announcer in Munich. One week after Munich’s cup semifinal triumph, the reality landed in a scoreless draw against Bad Neuenahr.

Situation: Five games left to be played. Potsdam leads with 41 points, Wolfsburg trails by one, Duisburg by another one. Frankfurt with 37 requires Potsdam to slip twice in order to have a chance at the title. The competition best of the rest is led by Freiburg at 23 points, followed by Munich (21), Essen (20), Bad Neuenahr (19), and Hamburg (18). For Jena (15), it is still looking good, while Leipzig (9) and Leverkusen (8) need wins desperately.

Next weekend Potsdam and Frankfurt sit out again. Their games were moved to April 25 (Munich v Frankfurt) and May 2 (Bad Neuenahr v Potsdam). This opens the chance for Wolfsburg (v Hamburg) and Duisburg (v Jena) to move to the top spot. The bottom teams in need of points have solvable tasks when Leverkusen travels to Freiburg and Leipzig plays in Essen.

Damallsvenskan Round 1: Tyresö makes statement, Press scores brace to lead Göteborg

By Rainer Fussgänger – The first round of Damallsvenskan 2012 is over. Both media and fans were looking mostly forward to see Marta “coming home” after three years. And what a show Tyresö FF delivered for 110,000 watching on television and 2,892 fans on Tyresövallen. Otherwise the response of fans was quite chilly like the weather in most parts of the country. Especially Gothenburg, which had poor crowds with less than 300 seeing Jitex against reigning champions LdB FC Malmö and a little more than 300 seeing the debut of Americans Christen Press and Ingrid Wells against Stockholm side Djurgården.

AIK vs Piteå IF 0-3
Attendance: 307
Piteå: Sofie Persson 7’, own goal 80’, Hanna Pettersson 92’
AIK, which came back to Damallsvenskan after only one year, was closer to Piteå than the result might show, but the fact that AIK was defeated proves that this is going to be a tough year for the young team from just outside Stockholm. New players scored two goals for Piteå. Sofie Persson after 7 minutes was the first goal of the Damallsvenskan 2012 and came after a corner. Persson, who is from Southern Sweden, was the best on the pitch. She decided to go to the very north of the country because Piteå could offer her a job as the architect she is.

Umeå IK vs Vittsjö GIK 4-1
Attendance: 502
Umeå: Tuija Hyyrynen 9’, Emmelie Konradsson 32’, Linda Molin 37’, Lina Hurtig 80’
Vittsjö: Sofie Andersson 42’
Shot statistics show that the game was almost even, but Umeå won because of their experience in the first league. Vittsjö, which is for the very first time in Damallsvenskan, had to play without American Danesha Adams since her working permit was not ready in time. Sofie Andersson. who scored as much as 34 goals last season in the 2nd division, did even well in Umeå, but when she was lucky that Umeå had already scored three times.

Marta in her debut for Tyresö.

Tyresö FF vs KIF Örebro 7-0
Attendance: 2,892
Tyresö: Caroline Seger 26’, own goal 36’, Line Röddik Hansen 47’, Caroline Seger 48’, Marta 57’, Marta 71’, Vero Boquete (PK) 90’
What a performance by Tyresö! The team that many think will win the league this year had some problems in the first 15-20 minutes, but when Caroline Seger scored the first goal for her new team, the Yellowreds became more and more confident. And it is by far not only Marta who makes the difference. Tyresö showed a lot of variation.Kirsten van de Ven and Line Röddik Hansen played excellent on the wings, and forward Madelaine Edlund made the center backs of Örebro tired with her powerful runs. And finally Marta scored and performed a dance of joy with her Brazilian friend and teammate Elaine. Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé made some great saves, otherwise it could have been 10 goals or even more. Important to say that KIF Örebro is not a team that is expected to end up at the bottom of the table.

Tyresö's Madelaine Edlund puts one on goal.

Kristianstads DFF vs Linköpings FC 1-1
Attendance: 808
Kristianstad: Elin Nilsen 59’
Linköping: Manon Melis 91’
Many have seen Linköping as the one team to be able to compete with Tyresö’s powerful roster. However, their first match ended disappointing for both sides. Ambitious Kristianstad coach Beta Gunnarsdottir has declared that she wants to win the gold medal this year, and due to high pressing on the pitch, the home side caused Linköping a lot of problems. Elin Nilsen’s goal after one hour seemed to last, and Linköping’s start of the season looked as horrible as last year. But never leave Manon Melis alone. The Dutch striker used an individual mistake and scored the equalizer. Kristianstad’s not satisfied with the result, and Linköping’s not satisfied with their game.

Jitex BK vs LdB FC Malmö 1-4
Attendance: 258
Jitex BK: Annica Sjölund 58’
LdB FC Malmö: Amanda Ilestedt 25’, Lina Nilsson 39’, Anja Mittag 68’, Elin Rubensson 78’
There was no doubt that the champions Malmö were the dominating side on the pitch. Ramona Bachmann was the player of the match. She created a lot, but defenders Amanda Ilestedt and Lina Nilsson scored the first two goals before German international Anja Mittag and U19-Swedish international Elin Rubensson scored #goals number 3 and 4. Jitex’s game is very physical, and although they had no chance in tying or even winning against Malmö, it will be interesting to see them against teams that seem to be more equal to them.

Kopparberg/Göteborgs FC vs Djurgården 2-0
Attendance: 318
Göteborg: Christen Press 5’, Christen Press 81’
Göteborg did not convince as one of the favorites of this season. They were very often easily disturbed by Djurgården that could not create many chances for themselves, but made life very difficult for the home side. The only player who really convinced and could be one of the big names this year was Christen Press. She had several opportunities, runs a lot, and finally scored her first goals for Göteborg. Press leads the scoreboard of the league together with Marta and Caroline Seger.

Rainer Fussgänger, of Germany, lives in Sweden and has followed the Damallsvenskan for eight years now. Living in Stockholm with three clubs (Djurgården, Hammarby, and Tyresö) around the corner, he is lucky to see a lot of games. You can follow Rainer on Twitter @ffschweden and check out his website at http://ffschweden.wordpress.com.

German Cup and Bundesliga roundup: Hagen’s hat trick lifts Bayern München, Wolfsburg and Potsdam both win 3-1

The second German Cup semifinal game and two Bundesliga matches were played Monday, with the following teams in action: Bayern München vs. Hamburger SV, SC Bad Neuenahr vs. VFL Wolfsburg, and 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam vs. FF USV Jena. Here is a complete recap of the the day’s action.

By Olaf Goldbecker

German Cup Semifinal: Bayern München v Hamburger SV 5:2 (4:1)
1:0 Cross (2), 1:1 Bagehorn (5), 2:1 Cross (7), 3:1 Hagen (27), 4:1 Hagen (45), 5:1 Hagen (72), 5:2 Kameraj (90)

Set pieces dominated the second semifinal of the German Cup competition. A corner kick found Sarah Hagen in the second minute and Niki Cross finished for an early lead. Yet a savable free kick of Marie Louise Bagehorn allowed Hamburg to answer just three minutes later. Still the crazy starting minutes were not gone. Free kick for Munich, and Cross scored again in her starting debut for her team. The show went on like this, and now the other American started to shine. Sarah Hagen scored three goals, two coming of set pieces again, before Hamburg made the result closer in the final minute.

Bundesliga:

SC Bad Neuenahr v VfL Wolfsburg 1-3 (1-1) – Makeup game
Wolfsburg made use of the makeup game and jumped to the second spot in the standings, which would give them a Champions League berth at the end of the season. Zsanett Jakabfi opened the scoring after a quarter hour, but Bad Neuenahr stroke back just two minutes later by Peggy Kuznik. In period two, an early goal by Conny Pohlers helped Wolfsburg get on track before Jakabfi marked the decision midway thru the second half.

1.FFC Turbine Potsdam v FF USV Jena 3-1 (1-1)
In a game of the 17th matchday, which was moved to an earlier date due to Potsdam competing in the Champions League semifinal, Potsdam extended the lead in the standings with a 3-1 win over Jena. They needed a wakeup call after 15 minutes by Julia Arnold, which was answered less than 60 seconds later by Isabel Kerschowski. Five minutes into the second half, Genoveva Anomna helped Potsdam take the lead against her former team. With five minutes left, Swede Antonia Göransson sealed the deal.

Situation: Potsdam increased the lead to four points, but has to sit out next week and watch the opponents play. Wolfsburg now is the #1 challenger being four points down, Duisburg is third with five points back, Frankfurt is seven points behind. Matchday 17 will already resume on Wednesday when Frankfurt hosts Bayer Leverkusen, also moved from the weekend due to the Champions League semifinal.

Damallsvenskan 2012 Season Preview

By Rainer Fussgänger - The Swedish league Damallsvenskan will play its first round on Monday. After the decision to suspend Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS), dozens of players from the U.S. and Canada contacted clubs in Norway, Finland, and Sweden, hoping to be able to play on a high level. Some of them ended up in Sweden. We give you a short round-up of all the clubs here and pair them in the way they will play each other on Monday and Tuesday.

AIK


Solna is a town just outside of Stockholm. Its soccer club AIK on the men’s side has a lot of tradition and history. In women’s soccer, AIK has played eight seasons in Damallsvenskan. This year they come back from the 2nd division. It is a fairly young team, and unfortunately there was only little money to make the necessary steps to make the team stronger for the 1st league. AIK has a couple of Swedish internationals who are with the U19-team, such as defender Jennie Nordin and midfielder Malin Diaz. Their key player to me is the extremely technical Nazanin Vaseghpanah. “Naza,” as people call her, has played twice for the Swedish Women’s National team. Her vulnerable side though is her temper. I think that AIK will have big problems in staying in Damallsvenskan. Most experts see them as 12th (last place) this year. The transfer of American midfielder Kacey White failed, because White changed her mind and became a coach in college soccer in the U.S. Position: 12

Piteå IF


Piteå is a small town and hosts the northernmost club in Sweden. Last season was their comeback season as a newcomer, and although they invested a lot, they were not satisfied with being 10th  in the end, though nine points clear from relegation. One of the consequences was changing the coach. Now, Stellan Carlsson is supposed to lead Piteå closer to the middle section of the league. And again, Piteå has recruited many players: Australian goalkeeper Lydia Williams; Finnish defender Anna Westerlund came from Umeå; and Swedish striker Hanna Pettersson, who scored many goals during preseason. American Jennifer Nobis will play her third season with Piteå. Economic problems lead to a ticket price rise to $22 USD, which became $17.75 USD after a lot of protests. The key player is Nigerian world class defender Faith Ikidi. If Piteå can deliver what the team should be able to they will be more successful and score more goals than last year. Position: 8

Umeå IK


Last season, former champions Umeå were close to winning their eighth title, something nobody had expected. However, after Sofia Jacobsson went to Russia during the season, and after goalgetters Ramona Bachmann and Hanna Pettersson also signed with other clubs, Umeå changed their concept and told the public that Umeå wants to be a top club within a few years by developing local and regional talents. Others would say they ran out of money, again. Sixteen-year-old Lina Hurtig came to Umeå. She is regarded as one of the greatest talents in years. Umeå’s key player is defender and team captain Emma Berglund. If Berglund, who has joined the SWNT recently, can coordinate a good defense with experienced goalie Caroline Jönsson behind her, Umeå will be in the middle this year. Position: 7

Vittsjö GIK


Vittsjö won the southern group of the 2nd division by a wide margin. Former Kristianstad player Sofie Andersson scored 34 goals in 22 games, and the little municipality (1,500 inhabitants) close to Malmö, entered the finest of all leagues in Sweden. Last Sunday, the population was asked to come to the arena to paint and clean it all up. In the final weeks before the start of Damallsvenskan, coach Thomas Mårtensson could add a couple of experienced international names to his roster: Dutch WNT goalkeeper Lois Geurts, Americans Kendall Fletcher and Danesha Adams, and Scottish defender Ifeoma Dieke joined. However, it seems questionable if they will be able to form a team in Vittsjö that can do the job to stay in the league. Looking at all the other teams, it seems pretty doubtful. The key player is Andersson again. If she is able to score only half of the goals she scored last year, Vittsjö has a chance. They are underdogs, though. Position: 11

 

Tyresö FF


Tyresö is a municipality about 10 miles southeast of Stockholm with a beautiful coastline to the Baltic Sea. Sport director Hans Löfgren lives here. Five years ago, the team played in the 4th Division and Löfgren made up a plan that they wanted to win the Championship in 2012 and the Champions League in 2014. At the traditional press meeting one week ago in Gothenburg, nine out of 12 coaches said that Tyresö will win the gold this year. Three world-class players have been added since last year: Marta (Brazil), Vero Boquete (Spain) and SWNT midfielder Caroline Seger. Add Swedish WNT players Linda Sembrant and Lisa Dahlkvist, the latter had her breakthrough at the World Cup in Germany last year. We will see internationals sitting on the bench, but if coach Stefan Fredriksson only succeeds up to 80 percent to keep this team going, it just HAS to win the title. Position: 1

KIF Örebro


Finishing fifth in 2010 and 2011, KIF Örebro told us at the press meeting that they want to aim higher. Marie Hammarström, the girl who scored the legendary goal against France in Sinsheim last year that gave Sweden the bronze medal, is their key player. A good defense with Stephanie Labbé between the posts, centre backs Marina Pettersson Engström and Sara Larsson (still injured, but soon back) will make it, as usual, difficult to play Örebro, but they don’t have a midfield that is able to make them compete with the four top teams this year. And some others have invested more and show more hunger. Position: 6

 

 

Kristianstads DFF


Icelandic coach Elisabet  “Beta” Gunnarsdottir is the only female coach in the Damallsvenskan. Every body writes about it and it surely gets on Beta’s nerves, a character coach who is extremely ambitious. At the press meeting she said that Kristianstad will go for gold. And, as usual, she says too much, she reaches too high. However, the roster looks much stronger with Kosovare Asllani, who had no future in Linköping, but finally a coach who believes in her again. And when former Western New York Flash midfielder Becky Edwards was injured during preseason, they quickly filled the gap with Canadian Sophie Schmidt.  Economically, there has been turbulence, but recently it was quiet. Asllani will be the key person, and if she succeeds, Kristianstad can annoy the top teams and beat most of the rest, but they will not reach up to Tyresö. Position: 5

 

Linköpings FC


The champions of 2009 will come back after two mediocre seasons. Always strong in their defense, Linköping invested a lot in recruiting players for their offensive game. When the WPS crashed, Manon Melis’ former coach (now in Linköping) Jörgen Pettersson grabbed the phone and made her come to the small town, two hours south of Stockholm. He added Australian Lisa DeVanna to the roster. Together with Finnish striker Linda Sällström, I was talking about the fastest forward line in the history of Damallsvenskan, but unfortunately Sällström suffered an ACL injury in Thursday’s international against Slovakia in Helsinki and will miss the season. But with Charlotte Rohlin and Nilla Fischer, alternating team captains for the Swedish WNT, Linköping will make its way into Champions League again. Position: 2

 

Jitex BK


Half of the Finnish national team will play in Gothenburg this year, almost. Extraordinary goalkeeper Minna Meriluoto will add a lot of stability in the goal, but she has to watch out for her porcelain fingers (third finger injury within a year risks her premiere on Monday). The new coach Stefan Rehn is a former international and could add a lot of charisma and experience from the bench. Preseason went quite well for Jitex, although defender Petronella Ekroth suffered an ACL tear. The new Canadian striker Christina Julien will be the key to a season without worries of going down to 2nd division. Position: 9.

 

LdB FC Malmö


There were some dark economic clouds above Malmö this spring, but players told me that everything was exaggerated by the media. That is probably what they have been told. Losing Manon Melis to WPS and then Linköping was tough, but with MVP of 2011, Ramona Bachmann, and German international Anja Mittag can be pretty strong again. Instead of Caroline Seger, who left for Tyresö after just a couple of weeks, Malmö has former Tyresö midfielder German Katrin Schmidt, which just seems to be a change of names because Schmidt is like Seger, a ball-winner and sometimes a goal scorer. Add that Malmö has incredible Scandinavian talents with Katrine Veje and Sara Björk Gunnarsdottir, you will know that it again will be difficult to play them. But still, they won’t really reach up to Linköping and Tyresö. Position: 3

Kopparberg/Göteborgs FC


The cup winners of 2011 lost Ingvild Stensland (back to Norway) and Linda Sembrant and Lisa Dahlkvist (to competitors Tyresö), and many thought that would keep Göteborg out of the title race. But since March, there are three English-speaking players in Western Sweden in a team that traditionally only had few out-of-Scandinavia people: Americans Ingrid Wells and last year’s WPS Rookie of the Year Christen Press, plus English veteran Anita Asante. Asante could be the key player. Göteborg convinced in the Super Cup final against Malmö (which they lost, 2-1) recently by having again established a good passing game. They won ‘t play so much long balls on Press in the future, and I am sure that she will start to score soon and be one of the forward profiles of this season. The roster seems a little ill-balanced, since there is a lack of defensive players. Position: 4

Djurgården


The Stockholm team of Djurgården has recruited a lot of players from Hammarby in Stockholm, which became second to last in 2011 and lost ALL of their players except the second goalkeeper. Anna Lindblom and Magdalena Ericsson will add a good defense quality to Djurgården, but because both Icelandic creative midfielder Dora Maria Larusdottir (went to Brazil) and super-talented Emma Lundh (Linköping) left the club, they will problems to lead a game. On the bench there will hardly be players who can change a match. It is decided that Frankfurt’s Jessica Landström will join the team, but the German side declared in the beginning of last week that they won’t let her go before the end of June, when half the Swedish season is played. That means very likely no Olympics for Landström and big problems to score goals with only one hot striker, Mia Jalkerud. Position: 10

Rainer Fussgänger, of Germany, lives in Sweden and has followed the Damallsvenskan for eight years now. Living in Stockholm with three clubs (Djurgården, Hammarby, and Tyresö) around the corner, he is lucky to see a lot of games. You can follow Rainer on Twitter @ffschweden and check out his website at http://ffschweden.wordpress.com.

German Cup semifinal: Frankfurt defeats Duisburg on penalties

By Olaf Goldbecker – In the first semifinal of the German Cup, Frankfurt dominated from the start. The equalizer, after a quickly played free kick, was out of the blue, but it made Frankfurt totally get out of the game. From then on, it was a game with a huge turnover rate on both sides. Frankfurt had more ball possession, and Duisburg had seldom but bigger and better chances. The final resulted in a win for Frankfurt on penalties: 2-2 (5-4 pk).

The lead by Alexandra Popp was a spectacular 20-meter shot directly into the top right corner. Frankfurt tied after a corner kick when Kerstin Garefrekes missed the cross, but Gina Lewandowski stood unmarked behind her and headed in. In the overtime, Duisburg had more and more chances, but Frankfurt keeper Desiree Schumann kept her team in the game.

In the penalty shootout, Duisburg’s young keeper Anke Preuss saved the second shot of Ana Maria Crnogorcevic. Everybody else scored, and Annike Krahn just had to get in the last shot to clinch Duisburg’s win, but Schumann saved it. The sixth attempt was scored for Frankfurt and Linda Bresonik, who already failed two penalty kicks in the league, could not convert to give Frankfurt the win. Ironically, the two experienced cornerstones of Duisburg’s young team were the ones who didn’t have the nerves.

In the other semifinal, Bayern München will take on Hamburger SV Monday.